The New Corporate Calendar: Belonging Starts with Acknowledgement and Support



It’s time to evolve from the holidays on the corporate work calendar of years past. But rather than transition away from only celebrating company milestones and fun “celebration” days, we recommend expanding the idea to create greater inclusion and belonging within your workplace.


In May alone, there are numerous observances, awareness days and months (this list is far from complete):

  • Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

  • Jewish American Heritage Month

  • Mental Health Awareness Month

  • Women’s Health Week

  • Nurses Appreciation Week

  • Teacher Appreciation Week/Day

  • The end of Ramadan 2021

  • Eid al-Fitr

  • Cinco de Mayo

  • Memorial Day, honoring personnel fallen while serving military duties

Often we hear from our clients, “It’s just not possible to celebrate every holiday at our company because if we did, no one would ever work”. We are not suggesting adding a lot of company days off (if you have designated holidays,) or even hosting a celebratory lunch or potluck (or virtual happy hour) to celebrate all the various cultural months and days. But it is important to be intentional about what cultural celebrations you do honor and recognize, that our traditional approach no longer works in a global multicultural 21st century workplace that fosters inclusion and belonging.


While there are many ways to support your employees, here are three easy ways to let them know you recognize and appreciate their differences and encourage them to share their heritage and stories:

  1. Rethink sanctioned company holidays so that they are not just aligned with national Holidays; consider offering more floating holidays as needed and opportunities for flexible work schedules.

  2. Rather than direct how observances are celebrated, engage with your employees through Inclusion Groups and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or open forums — for ideas without placing the burden on them to deliver a program or event. Once informed, provide opportunities to share stories and traditions informally, acknowledge celebrations in company newsletters, and invite the greater employee population to learn about other cultures through these celebrations. Invest in Inclusion Groups/ERGs providing a budget to bring in speakers and workshops to inspire employees (and educate allies).

Acknowledging the events, movements and moments your employees experience will allow all voices to be heard. When leaders make it clear that that these moments matter, and themselves use these opportunities to learn about other cultures, the corporate culture shifts to one that is more inclusive in a deeply meaningful way.

 

As a reminder: The continuous current events of systemic racism and antisemitism show that our marginalized communities are still under attack. Here is a comprehensive list of resources to support and take action:


AAPI Support and Allyship


Jewish Communities Support and Allyship

 

Join us every month to be part of the conversation:

CDO & SENIOR DIVERSITY LEADER FORUM | 2nd Wednesday every month | 12-1pm PT

INCLUSION GROUP LEADER FORUM | 2nd Thursday every month, 12-1pm PT


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